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Malcolm Flynn | Dec, 04 2012 | 2 Comments

Toyota could produce a hybrid version of its new 2013 RAV4 SUV, according to reports out of the US this week.

Speaking to UK mag AutoExpress at the 2013 RAV4’s LA Auto Show unveiling, Deputy Chief Engineer of the RAV4 project Yoshikazu Saeki hinted at the potential for a hybrid variant.

“(A hybrid version) would not be difficult to do,” Saeki-san said.

“We are watching the market. After introducing the new RAV4 we will see. There will be a possibility of introducing a hybrid RAV4 and we will respond to what the market wants.”

This suggested readiness is supported by the RAV4's shared componentry with both Prius and Camry Hybrid models, highlighting the feasibility of a hybrid RAV4.

Toyota traditionally uses high levels of platform and mechanical modularity, meaning that many components can be shared across several models.

A hybrid RAV4 could therefore use a version of the Camry Hybrid’s 2.5 litre 151kW (combined) hybrid setup.

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It is unclear of course whether such a model would be front-wheel drive (like Camry), or adopt an all-wheel drivetrain similar to that used by the Lexus RX 450h.

Toyota currently produces hybrid versions of the Yaris, Auris (Corolla), Camry, and Highlander (Kluger) internationally, so a hybrid RAV4 would be a neat fit within this line-up.

While Toyota is yet to produce a hybrid RAV4, it has produced two generations of pure-electric RAV4 EV models, built in limited numbers and sold exclusively in the US state of California.

The second-generation RAV4 EV (based on the existing RAV4 model) is the result of a technical partnership with US manufacturer Tesla, and was only revealed in May this year.

 
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